Yak, yak, yak, yak and yak. Ten days and they are not done yet. Hats off to the television anchors. They can carry on non-stop and still remain agile at the end of it for some more yakking. The beauty of it is they believe they are lighting up the life of the viewers with knowledge with every fresh bout of verbal outpour. The ten days in question refers to the period between the government’s announcement of the diesel price hike and the withdrawal of support to it by Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress.
By now even the kid at home knows the political arithmetic by heart. “If you have 272 seats and Mamata takes away 19 how many are you left with?” An enterprising mom is learnt to have put this up to her kid while teaching him subtraction. “253″ chimes the intelligent kid without even looking at the television. “If Mulayam has 21 seats and Mayawati 22, how many more seats do they have together more than Mamata’s?” went the next question. Well, many kids have become smarter at calculations in the last ten days and their teachers are happy.
Some children have picked up some Bengali too and their knowledge has gone beyond calling ‘babu mosai’ to any Bengali in sight, thanks to Mamatadi and her frequent cameos on television. And yes, some claim to have actually sighted and heard Prime Minister Manmohan Singh too. Never say 24X7 media is a nuisance; it has its uses too. But there have been minor problem to the adults though, who are complaining of overdose of avoidable gyaan.
The channels have been drilling into us the numbers without a pause. There are only a few variations possible to the arithmetic they present. But there’s no sign that they are tired of explaining those to people. The same goes with the analyses of possible scenarios after Mamata withdrew her support. How many times over the last week have you heard this: If she goes out, the UPA gets reduced to a minority government. In that case support has to come from either the Samajwadi Party or the Bahujan Samaj Party or both. The SP wants an early election but the BSP does not. If the former withdraws support, then the BSP would prop the government up.
How many times have you heard this and some other hypothetical situations in the last ten days? Pompous guests on panel discussions keep repeating these in show after show as did experts of several hues. Even the neighbourhood paanwala knows of all existing and possible equations by heart now. Never blame journalists for not overdoing things. Just two weeks earlier, they were digging up scandal after scandal in the coal allocations and going hammer and tongs at anybody in sight. One big announcement by the government was enough to throw the media discourse in a totally different direction. Talk of the fickle media and its notoriously short attention span!
Of course, meanwhile another India existed, invisible in the shadow of the ‘big news’. The developments here came nowhere close to qualifying as ‘breaking news’. Television media creates an exclusive world with a firm ‘no entry’ board for people beyond the TRP circus. But let’s not get into that; if you crib too much someone might ask you to go watch good old Doordarshan and draw sadomasochistic pleasure from whatever they dish out or watch some entertainment channel where comedy shows make you cry.
Let’s get back to the yakking part. It certainly requires incredible skills to keep getting excited over the same thing. And our anchors have certainly measured up to the task. But why blame them? There’s a fundamental rule in life: you deserve what you get. If you are a sucker for political nonsense, you get it. If you are a sucker for obnoxious panel discussions where everybody hollers at the same time giving it a mental asylum feel, you get it. Media are just giving what you want, and in liberal quantities. If you want yak, yak, yak, you get exactly that. The adults certainly need some growing up.
If the experience over the last ten days does not make them feel so, nothing will. They deserve the yakking they get.